Durand Cup: Gokulam and Army Green qualify for the knockouts

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Former champions Army Green and the defending champions Gokulam Kerala FC make it to the knockout stages of Durand Cup 2021. Both the sides registered 1-0 wins against Sudeva Delhi FC and Hyderabad FC respectively.

The regimental team’s Deepak Singh continued his superb goalscoring form gifting his side a well-fought narrow victory. Whereas, new signing Rahim Osumanu’s goal ensured 10-men Gokulam win against a resilient Hyderabad side.

The Malabarians next face Assam Rifles in their final group D match on 19th September. On the other hand, Hyderabad needs to win in their next match against Army Red to make it into the next round. Whereas, from group B, FC Goa and Army Green have qualified for the quarters.

Narrow wins for Army Green and Gokulam Kerala in the Durand Cup

Gokulam Kerala came to the big clash against Indian Super League giants Hyderabad FC after a frustrating 2-2 draw against Army Red. Whereas their opponents were pumped up after a comfortable 5-0 win over Assam Rifles. However, the match between the two teams turned about to be a cracker of a contest.

The Nizams were dictating possession whereas Gokulam were focused on their attacking style of play. Vincenzo Annese’s lads were getting some brilliant opportunities but weren’t able to score past the opposition goalkeeper.

In the second half, the Kerala club finally were able to break the deadlock. New signing Rahim Osumanu slotted it past Hyderabad custodian Jongte in the rebound in the 46th minute.

Despite a good performance in front of goal, Emil Benny received his second yellow card in the match and as a result, the defending champions were down to 10 men. However, a valiant performance from skipper Sharif Mukhammad and the defence ensured the victory.

Last regimental side to win the trophy will play in the quarterfinals

Army Green were the 2016 Durand Cup champions after defeating Neroca FC in the final. But, in 2019, they finished last in Group C. However, after a narrow 1-0 win against Sudeva Delhi FC, they have become the first regimental team to qualify for the knockout stages of this year’s Durand Cup.

Initially, it was an even match and both Green and Sudeva FC were looking for the opener. The I-League side’s goalkeeper Sachin Jha was on top form. At the end of first half, both the sides failed to make the breakthrough.

But in the second half, Jha’s heroics weren’t enough as Army Green scored their much-needed goal in the 51st minute. Dip Mazumdar assisted in-form Deepak Singh for his third ever goal in the competition. Singh was deservedly named as the Man of the Match after scoring the only goal in the match.

As a result, Sudeva have failed to win any match in the competition and bow out from the group stages this year. Whereas, Army Green move into the next stage alongside table-toppers FC Goa. Another big name missing from the knockouts is Jamshedpur FC, who have also lost two of their group matches.

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